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Divulging the dirty secrets of a marketeer

At dinner parties I increasingly find myself talking to friends about my job. (It seems the older we get, the more this happens). So I tell them I’m in strategic marketing – albeit as part of a business development role.

That immediately gets the questions flowing: What kind of tactics do you use? How are you tracking people – and how is that even possible, just from the things you post online or the emails you send??

So I divulge the secrets of retargeting, geotargeting, behavioural targeting; all the methods we use on a daily basis.

And as I talk, the disdain on their faces grows. They look at me as though I’m the very inventor of this ‘Big Brother is watching you’ approach to marketing. Shaking their heads, they say “this just isn’t right… am I not making decisions on my own??”

My answer to them is: Maybe not. It all depends how susceptible you are and whether or not you’re following the buying patterns we’re looking out for.

I then go on to explain how I myself, because of the job I do and the ‘insider knowledge’ I have, am absolutely immune to marketing. A strong discussion usually ensues, with some around the table agreeing wholeheartedly that they too are immune to marketing and don’t react or can’t be tracked. Then there’s the rest of the group, telling their own stories; remembering, or perhaps just realising, how they’ve responded to targeting – and wondering just how much it’s been happening.

The next morning I wake up ever-so-slightly jaded, remembering the heated debate we had, whilst idly scanning my emails on my phone… just my kind of mouth-watering recipes from Delicious magazine, gorgeous dresses in my favourite colours from SilkFred. I browse online to my heart’s content; clicking eagerly on an article about the best way to barbecue a whole chicken…

And as I make a mental note of the recommended marinade, it hits me. Maybe I’m not quite so immune to marketing as I thought. In fact, maybe I’m not immune at all.

With the subtlety (and technology) employed by today’s brands, it seems the world of marketing is only growing stronger.

And even if we marketeers know its deepest, darkest secrets, it doesn’t mean we’re not susceptible to its power.